Summer Road Trip: What You Need!

Are you getting that "hit the open road" itch? Looking for a little adventure? Then you're my kinda gal!

by Lisa Ledoux
Couple of woman driving having a lot of fun dancing in the car with opened roof and summer vacation sunset ocean in front

But… since you and I are responsible adults, we’re probably going to do this right, right?


Here is a full-on Summer Road Trip Guide for anything you might want to consider when preparing for your ROAD TRIP!

And if you’re looking for MORE adventure read this blog next- The “Over 40” Summer Bucket List: Mature Women Do it Better.

In this post you’ll find:

  • Planning the Perfect Summer Road Trip 
  • Your Vehicle: Before You Go
  • Vehicle Safety  
  • First Aid Kit
  • Vehicle Essentials
  • Road Trip Tips- Living Life to the Fullest! 
  • Snacks and Drinks 
  • Packing For One (or Two)- Tips
  • Family Packing Tips

Planning the Perfect Summer Road Trip

Here are a few quick tips to getting started and we’ll take a deeper dive into the main points.

At this point, you’ll probably know who’s going with you, where you’re going, and the dates.

Next, you can start:

  1. Physical mapping: Use a paper map or a mapping app to plot your course (distance, travel time, and scenic routes)and mark points of interest. Roughly plan your stops for meals, rest, and gas along the way to stay organized, but still have fun!
  2. Researching attractions: in addition to the final destination, these add fun and excitement to the ride; national parks, historic landmarks, museums, restaurants, beaches, swimming holes, and other activities are a great pit stop.
  3. Booking attractions in advance (tickets): This’ll save you time and stress, as some attractions require tickets purchased in advance due to limited space or high demand.
  4. Pre-booking motels, hotels, or Air BnBs: If you’re traveling for a while, pre-book your accommodation. Research places with good reviews, and make sure they fit your needs- kitchenette, number of beds, continental breakfast, pool, etc.
Excited Young Female is Sitting on Backseat of a Car, Commuting Home at Night. Looking Out of the Window with Amazement of How Beautiful is the City Street with Working Neon Signs.

Once those main, overarching details are figured out you can move on to the finer details.

And one of those details is the most important part of any road trip- your vehicle- and it should be in tip-top shape and mega-mommed-out- AKA- fully prepared for anything- kids or no kids!

Your Vehicle: Before You Go

Take the time to account for your vehicle’s needs and stay on top of your maintenance schedule before you head out, to enjoy a reliable and efficient ride:

  • have your insurance/license/documents up to date
  • get your oil changed and top off or replace any necessary fluids
  • replace all air filters and spark plugs if needed
  • check tire pressure, tread depth, and alignment
  • ensure your brakes are in good condition, if they need replacing have it done before you go
  • check headlights, wipers, windshield washer fluid, etc.
  • have an emergency roadside kit ready
  • ensure you have navigation tools like GPS, Google Maps, or a physical map

Vehicle Safety

If you’re like me, car safety is a top priority.

There’s nothing worse than coming face to face with an emergency- anything from a flat tire, a fender bender, or any situation where you have to wait, stranded, in inclement weather, or in shock or pain.

Even something like a child getting car sick, running out of gas, or having no cell service can be that little bit more comforting- if you’re prepared.

So I’ve come up with the ULTIMATE VEHICLE SAFETY LIST, and from the list, you can pick and choose what’s best for you and your needs.

*Note- although I live in a 4 season climate- (2 of those seasons being winter), this is not a winter list but many of the items will be useful in winter.

First Aid Kit: (these are included in the vehicle printable)

  • Band-aids
  • Peroxide or antiseptic
  • Calamine lotion or afterbite 
  • Nail clipper
  • Tweezers
  • Cotton balls or pads
  • Adhesive tape
  • Hand sanitizer 
  • Wipes 
  • Pain relief (acetaminophen, ibuprofen, acetylsalicylic acid, menstruation relief), antihistamine, and anti-nausea medicines 
  • Bee sting kit 
  • Toilet paper or tissues
  • Scissors
  • Gauze pads of various sizes 
  • Tensor bandage
  • Safety pins
  • Disposable latex gloves
  • Emergency blanket
  • First aid manual 
  • Face masks 
  • Ice pack
  • Local EMS/911 number, family doctor, poison control, and personal emergency contact numbers
  • Emergency #s, Notes
Road trip on the beach paper art style in pastel scheme vector illustration

This may look like a lot- but don’t worry- it’s not! And most of these items come in standard 1st Aid Kits.

If not, you can always top up a standard kit with your own added supplies.

Vehicle Essentials:

  • Water
  • Non-perishable snacks; trail mix, protein bars, dried fruit
  • Car manual, registration, pencil, and paper
  • Small fire extinguisher
  • Long burning candle
  • Matches, lighter
  • Rain umbrella, ponchos, boots
  • Warm coat
  • Blanket
  • Garbage and cloth bag
  • Portable or spare phone charger
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • A crank, solar-powered, or portable radio with batteries
  • Roadside kit with traditional or LED flares & hazard triangles  
  • Whistle
  • Small empty gas can
  • Windshield fluid, WD 40, and other car fluids (engine oil)
  • Paper towel or a few rags
  • Spare tire
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Portable tire inflator or spray can tire inflator 
  • Car jack
  • Lug or torque wrench
  • Bungee cords, rope, tow strap
  • Multi-tool (Leatherman, Swiss army) 
  • Emergency window hammer and seat belt cutter (keychain tool)
  • Battery jumper cables, or a jumper that does not require another vehicle 
  • Duct tape
  • Shovel
  • Cat litter for traction 
  • Hidden cash and change for pay phones, parking, tow truck, or cabs
  • Portable potty and extra diapers (for little ones)

Again, this looks like a lot but many of the items can be bought in smaller sizes or can be compressed.

As long as you have all the options, the trick is then to customize the list and make it yours.

Road Trip Tips- Living Life to the Fullest!

When it comes to hitting the open road on a summer road trip, there are plenty of ways to make the experience as enjoyable as possible.

Happy black woman, desert holiday road trip and man driving jeep with body outside car window view of South Africa landscape. Couple on a travel adventure, summer vacation and explore nature together

It’ll be an amazing summer road trip that you won’t forget anytime soon.

Snacks and Drinks

Your road trip can be:

  • Heading to the beach for a day
  • An overnighter with a friend
  • An overnighter with your husband or wife
  • A singular destination
  • A string of destinations
  • Family reunion

Whatever the trip, long or short, you’ll want to make sure there’s plenty of food and drinks- it can save time, stress, and MONEY!

So this can mean both perishable and non-perishable snacks you want to have on hand in the car, or, food you’ve packed and prepared ahead of time for picnics, rest stops, or your hotel room. A cooler may be needed. 🙂

And Surprise! I have the perfect PDF for you just in case- if you’re looking for food ideas or want to go on a picnic, download Ledoux Lagoon’s Summer Picnic PDF Checklist, and as usual print it off or fill it in online!

vector background with sunset on the beach with palms and a car for banners, cards, flyers, social media wallpapers, etc.

Packing For One (or two) Tips

1. Start With The Basics

Make sure you have the basics covered like a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and any other toiletries you may need. Still unsure? make a list of the items you use daily and pack those first.

2. Choose Versatile Clothes

Choose items to mix and match like a black maxi dress with a belt and low heels for a night out, or paired with a jean jacket and runners for a more casual look. Experiment with different looks.

3. Pack Only What You Need

It’s easy to overpack when you’re unsure of what you’ll need, but try to pack only the essentials. You can always buy things if you need them, but it’s much harder to travel with too much stuff.

4. Use Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are lifesavers. They come in various sizes, save space, can be used to store everything, keep your suitcase organized and make it easier to find what you need.

5. Roll Your Clothes

Folding clothes takes up more space than rolling them, so if you want to save space in your suitcase, roll your clothes instead of folding them- and it’ll prevent wrinkles.

7. Make Use of Pockets

Use all available suitcase spaces, including the pockets and compartments on the outside of the suitcase. It’ll maximize space and keep your belongings organized.

8. Travel-Sized Items

A woman in white clothes uses a tablet to check in for an airplane flight before leaving for the airport.

If you plan on using any liquids or gels such as shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc., pack travel-sized bottles instead of full-sized ones. You can find these items at your local box store or online.

Family Packing Tips

1. Only Pack the Essentials

Again, with kids- only pack the essentials like clothes, diapers, wipes, food, and drinks. Anything more is unnecessary and will make the trip more difficult.

2. Use Space-Saving Storage Containers

When packing food and drinks for your trip, be sure to use items such as reusable water bottles and travel mugs, and collapsible storage containers to help you save space and keep organized.

4. Pack an Extra Bag for Dirty Clothes

Pack an extra bag for dirty clothes and a small laundry bag so that you can wash clothes on the go if necessary.

5. Keep Your Car Organized

Make sure that all of the luggage is stored in the trunk and there’s a place for everything. And pack very few games, toys, books, coloring stuff, etc., they likely won’t use them as much as you think they will!

As for the specific packing items, that will depend on:

  • the number of people,
  • the length of the road trip,
  • the weather you’re expecting,
  • where you’re headed,
  • and for how long-

But whether it’s to the mountains, coast, or everything in between, you always have the option to pack light!


Closeup of woman pumping gasoline fuel in car at gas station. Petrol or gasoline being pumped into a motor vehicle car.

Summertime is the perfect time for road trips with family and friends – it’s a way to explore new places and create lasting memories.

Don’t forget to download our free PDF vehicle safety checklist to make sure you never leave important items behind!

By preparing early, you’ll have peace of mind while traveling, AND lots of fun with family or friends.

Your summer road trip awaits – get ready for a blast!

Thanks for Reading!

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